Editor’s Note: Broadcom Community Heroes recognizes civic engagement and volunteerism by Broadcom employees around the globe, who may nominate themselves or their colleagues for recognition under guidelines set forth by Broadcom Foundation. The Community Engagement Committee honors these employees with a $500 gift in their honor from a list of qualifying charities. In this series on the blog, we’ll profile each Community Hero to share stories about their interests and work benefiting their communities around the world.
Jeffrey Chin, a Principal Engineer in Electronic Design, heads an all-volunteer Raspberry Pi team at Broadcom’s Singapore office. Under his direction, the volunteer group partners with local schools and the Ministry of Education to organize workshops and events for students. They tap the $25 Raspberry Pi microcomputer as a low-cost, entry-level tool for learning critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills such as computer programming and applied mathmatics. Because of their efforts, Broadcom is gaining recognition as a thought leader in STEM education and advocacy throughout Singapore. Jeff’s work to inspire and teach the next generation of engineers and scientists is why he was chosen as Broadcom Community Hero.
Below is an edited interview:
What inspired you to get involved?
Last year, Paula Golden proposed bringing the Raspberry Pi initiative to Singapore and management encouraged us to get involved. Even though I didn’t know how the Raspberry Pi functioned, I was inspired to explore the capabilities of the low cost, credit-card sized computer. I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
What surprised you most about your work within the group?
Our team was not only new to the Raspberry Pi, but to each other. However, once we started working with the students on Broadcom technologies that we all take pride in, collaboration came quickly and easily – surprising us all. With a shared purpose of inspiring students, our group became connected, passionate and dedicated to the cause.
Where do you see the greatest impact in the community from the work this group is doing?
Broadcom is in a unique position among other tech companies because of its strong partnerships with educational charities. It gives us the ability to engage with students at a critical age which I foresee will have great impact in the long run. My hope is that future generations of engineers will recognize this program as the genesis of STEM education and inspiration.
What would you like to accomplish with your work next year?
Despite the fact we are a small team working on a shoestring budget, the importance of our mission rests on providing students with the opportunity to experience the Raspberry Pi. In the next year, we plan to target additional schools and build relationships with key educators in order to bring the workshops to more classrooms.
Share with us a favorite story about your work. What made the experience so rewarding?
After we spent months producing three projects at the end of our workshop, our greatest challenge was finding interested participants. Luckily, the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association came to the rescue and connected us with students from local schools and universities. At the launch of the first workshop, my favorite memory is seeing the expressions on the students’ faces when they successfully programmed a camera or learned how to stream a tune over a Bluetooth connection.
What advice would you give to Broadcom employees who want to volunteer?
Our team is building a flexible volunteer framework with educators and partners that give employees a wide range of options to volunteer that will fit their schedules. Volunteers can take turns teaching a workshop or sharing their professions. We are also equipping our volunteers to be ambassadors for Broadcom in their local communities. I believe this framework will help more employees make the commitment that benefits their community, the company and themselves in the long run.